Barnes & Noble is acquired by a hedge fund of $ 476 million and will be taken privately.
The national chain that many are due to the loss of independent bookstores has been ravaged by Amazon.com and other online merchants, but remains a critical outlet for publishers.
On Friday, it was acquired by Elliott Management, and in a twist it would probably be a national chain with a business model more similar to that of a local bookstore.
Elliott bought Waterstones a year ago, a national British bookkeeper who has successfully navigated through the online / e-reader revolution, by returning a lot of autonomy to the heads of their nearly 300 stores, who can choose books that they believe local readers want .
The man who runs the British chain, who becomes CEO of Barnes & Noble, said that is what he has in mind for Barnes & Noble.
Leonard Riggio bought the turn of the century Barnes & Noble in the 1[ads1]970s, including the flagship Manhattan store in the 1970s. He followed aggressive expansion throughout the 1980s and established Barnes & Noble as a national phenomenon with the acquisition of B. Dalton Bookseller and its 797 sites in 1987. It became the nation's second largest bookstore and began selling books online in collaboration with IBM and Sears. .
The company continued to look up other major bookstores such as Doubleday Book Shops and BookStop, which ran discount stores in Texas.
In 1993, Barnes & Noble was a publicly traded company that was concerned with the publishing industry. 19659002] The company tried to ride the digital conversion of books, propagate its own e-reader, Nook, in 2009 and offers more than a million books on its website.
But Amazon.com, which started as an online marketplace for books, was relentless and its Kindle e-reader dominates today. The company has cut in sales of both Barnes & Noble and independent book sellers.
Last year, Riggio was brought to the stage by Oren Teicher for BookExpo 2018 in New York City.
Teicher leads the American Booksellers Association, a group of independent bookstores, and a bitter rival of Barnes & Noble.
"Today we stand together for common reason to promote and support brick and mortar bookstores," Teicher said. "I have been cited as saying that it is in the long-term interest of the entire book industry that Barnes & Noble not only survive but grow and thrive."
But Barnes & Noble have suffered.
With about 630 stores in the US from last year, it is smaller than when it was bought by B. Dalton Bookseller in the late 1980s. Turnover peaked in 2012, and it has fallen every year since.
To reverse this downturn, new CEO James Daunt will attempt to replicate what Waterstones have done in the UK.
His main goal is to have each Barnes & Noble store be more tailored to the local market, rather than acting as a massive homogeneous chain.
"In chain book training, try to get the best store for each location," said Daunt The Associated Press. "What works in Jacksonville, Florida is not necessarily working in Hawaii."
And he sees benefits for Barnes and Noble in the battle with Amazon, where customer interaction is limited to buying things online.
Waterstones organizes several simultaneous events at their stores, making them a "fun place to discover books and enjoy the specialty of a bookstore."
Elliott will pay $ 6.50 for each share of Barnes & Noble, a premium of about 9% to the company's Thursday closing price
Sales, valued at around $ 683 million including debt, are targeted to close in the third quarter if it is approved by regulators and shareholders.
After that, a long way to recovery remains if it is possible. Some industry watchers are skeptical, including Mike Shatzkin, CEO of Idea Logical Company, a book industry consulting company.
He called the whole store store model for any retail chain "a 20th century concept" ext
"It doesn't surprise me that Barnes and Noble's management never came to that conclusion because they built their wealth store bigger stores," he said. "And I'm not sure Waterstone will lead them to another approach."
But retailers such as Target and Walmart have done so successfully, partly by using their bricks and mortar stores as launch points for fast delivery for things bought online.